What’s the Best E Juice Nicotine Level for You?

Matt Wallace
Jun. 12, 2018
by Matt Wallace

vaping nicotine level

If you are switching over to vaping from smoking, or you are new to the culture in general, all of the different nicotine e-juice options can be confusing. You have picked a flavor you think you may enjoy, and now you must decide on the nicotine concentration of your e-juice. Should you go with a low amount and work your way up, or start high and work your way down? We’ll walk you through the choices, so you can find the best e juice nicotine level for you.


Nicotine—The Basics


It’s been common knowledge for awhile now that cigarettes can cause cancer. What was unknown were the ingredients that were the actual culprits. Studies are now being performed on various chemicals inside of cigarettes to see which ones are deadlier than others. A study published by NCBI concluded that nicotine may not cause cancer directly, but it may aggravate cancer cells that have already formed or may reduce the effectiveness of cancer treatments. The study used mice exposed to high levels of nicotine for their observations. While human tested hasn’t been completed, what the study hinted at was that low levels of nicotine shouldn’t cause cancer.


This is good news for vapers, who historically have used vaporizers to curb their smoking habits or reduce their nicotine intake. People undergoing treatments for cancer already should avoid cigarettes and other nicotine products, however, in order to fully benefit from their therapy.


Although nicotine may not be carcinogenic, there are other physical effects it causes that users should be aware of. These include:


  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Vasoconstriction
  • Activation of adrenal glands, causing stimulation
  • Dopamine released in brain, causing a calming effect


Nicotine’s effects are initiated as quickly as 10 seconds after inhalation, but the half-life is relatively short. Since nicotine is deadly in high concentrations, the shorter half-life provides a natural buffer between consuming enough and consuming a deadly amount. You would have to consume a lot of nicotine in one sitting in order for it to be deadly, but we don’t recommend pushing this limit. The shorter half-life also means users need to use it repeatedly throughout the day to feel lasting effects. This can lead to dependency on nicotine, especially since it affects the reward center of the brain. Going too long without nicotine after using regularly can produce symptoms of irritability, nausea, lowered attention spans, and disturbed sleep.


Quitting cold-turkey is often difficult as the withdrawal symptoms and cravings can last weeks to months. Some people also find that they relied on the ritualistic aspect of smoking as a coping technique and miss their old routine. This is why some have turned to vaporizers to help reduce their nicotine consumption and ease out of their smoking habit.


What Are Your Vaping Goals?


If you’re trying vaping without any prior smoking experience and you don’t want to become dependent on nicotine, you will want to find e-juice that contains 0mg/mL of nicotine. If you’re wanting to switch from cigarettes to vaping as a healthy alternative, but want to keep your nicotine consumption the same, then you can refer to the information below to find the right concentration level for you.


If you are wanting to reduce your nicotine consumption and smoking habit to eventually quit, then you can start with a nicotine level you are used to until you are comfortable with your vaporizer, and then slowly decrease the concentration over time. It will take time to reduce your nicotine intake to 0, so give it one to two months every time you decrease your concentration before doing so again.


Nicotine Levels in E-Juice


Although nicotine levels in cigarettes vary by brand, e-juice has standard quantities across the market. The typical levels of nicotine are 0mg/mL, 3mg/mL, 6mg/mL, 12mg/mL, and 18mg/mL. Sometimes you can find concentrations as high as 24mg/mL or even 36mg/mL depending on the brand or specific flavor. Heavy smokers, or those who used unfiltered cigarettes, typically find that 12-18mg/mL are adequate concentrations to start out with, while regular smokers stick with 6-12mg/mL. Sub-ohm vapers tend to stick with 3-6mg/mL concentrations because the nature of these devices produce larger clouds with more nicotine per puff. Light smokers (less than 10 cigarettes per day) also find these concentrations to be manageable.


Vaping is a bit different from smoking cigarettes, and the perfect concentration for you may also depend on the length of your sessions. Regular users who prefer shorter vape sessions may want a higher concentration of nicotine in their e-juice, while those preferring longer sessions will find lower concentrations more comfortable. It may take some experimentation to find the right balance, but if you start to experience headaches or nausea then you know you either have too much nicotine or you had too long of a session.


Pod System Vaporizers may require a specific type of e-juice to work. Typically, the pod system e-juice is sold in different packaging and will explain that it is for pod refills only. Most other vaporizers fit for e-juice can handle 50/50 VG/PG blends of any flavor or concentration.


How Nicotine Levels Affect the Overall Vape Experience


Like we mentioned above, higher concentrations may necessitate shorter sessions, and lower concentrations may require longer sessions. Those who vape in short bursts throughout the day may prefer a higher concentration on their spectrum, while those who prefer only a few longer sessions will enjoy the lower concentrations.


Keep in mind as well, high nicotine concentrations can produce a harsher taste and harsher throat hit. Vapers wanting a smoother experience will want to stick to lower concentrations first and work their way up to a comfortable balance.


Nicotine Salts—What Are They?


Nicotine salts, or nic salts, are nicotine molecules with an extra CH3 link completing the structure and making it a salt. Users of nic salts claim that this type of e-juice produces a smoother throat hit, while still providing that high concentration of nicotine. Nicotine salt e-liquid isn’t meant for sub-ohm vaporizers but is usually found in Pod systems instead. Nicotine salt e-liquids typically come in 30-50mg/mL concentrations and are used in lower powered devices.


Those curious about nicotine salts are usually vapers who want to try a higher concentration without the harshness factor, or smokers switching to vaping who want their sessions to feel as close to smoking as possible. Since nic salts usually come with pod systems, they are very user-friendly for beginners. Also, since nicotine salts are relatively new, there aren’t as many flavor or concentration options available. However, they are becoming more popular amongst the vaping crowd, so more options may be available sooner rather than later.





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